Thursday, December 27, 2012

Cruzar la Cara de la Luna - 31 Days of Opera Awesomeness


As a special addition to San Diego Opera's 2013 International Season, we present Cruzar la Cara de la Luna, the first Mariachi Opera featuring renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán. Celebrate the music, memories, color and high spirits of Mexico as the rich classical sounds of the traditional mariachi and brilliant soloists create a poignant and moving opera which will appeal to all audiences.

The Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán

  Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán

The renowned Mariachi Vargas de Tecalitlán, known as the World’s Best Mariachi and heard on more than 800 recordings, take the stage for the first mariachi opera, a bi-lingual work following three generations of a single family, spanning countries, cultures and customs.  Performed to ecstatic reviews in Houston and Paris, this semi-staged production receives its West Coast premiere. “A multicultural winner”, “a stunning, emotional Mariachi opera”, “the bright Mariachi orchestration (violins, trumpets, harp and guitars) and endless variation of song forms are irresistible” says the media.


The plot
Mark, a Mexican-American dealing with the approaching death of his immigrant father, faces questions about his own place in the world - straddling two cultures - as well as that of his father and his American daughter. As long-buried secrets are revealed, he finds himself dramatically re-evaluating his own understanding of what makes a family.  Like the Monarch butterflies which migrate every year to the birthplace of Mark’s father, the members of the Velasquez family must travel both physically and spiritually between Michoacán and Texas and look deep into their hearts before they learn where they truly belong.

 A photo of the Mariachi Opera. Photo by Felix Sanchez, Houston Grand Opera.

Directed by Broadway star Leonard Foglia, with supertitles in English and Spanish, Cruzar la Cara de la Luna will speak to your heart.



Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Aida - 31 Days of Opera Awesomeness


Our season will end with the vivid, colorful and famous Aida by Giuseppe Verdi who celebrates his 200th Birthday in 2013.


The plot
Aida tells the story of the tragic love triangle of Amneris, the Pharaoh’s daughter, who is competing for the love of the Egyptian general Radames with her own Ethiopian slave, Aida.

The production
 Zandra Rhodes

Zandra Rhodes’ vivid designer’s eye enhances Verdi’s vision of ancient Egypt in this stunning production. Acclaimed in London, San Francisco and Houston, the brilliant sets and costumes are seen in San Diego for the first time, creating a riot of color and pageantry.

 The triumphal march - Photo by Cory Weaver

The cast

Filled with great arias and choruses, including the famous Triumphal March, Aida demands extraordinary singers in every role.

Latonia Moore, Walter Fraccaro, Jill Grove and Mark S. Doss

Rising American star Latonia Moore conquered Covent Garden as Aida: “I can honestly say that I have not heard an Aida like her at Covent Garden…or, for that matter, anywhere else…Moore is a world-class artist”(Opera Magazine, UK). Italian tenor, Walter Fraccaro, as Radames, “…whose singing is “burnished and impassioned” (The New York Times), Jill Grove as Amneris “…a low mezzo bordering on contralto (with) a rich and full bottom voice” (La Scena Musicale), and Mark S. Doss with his “…strong and authoritative bass-baritone voice” (San Francisco Sentinel) as Amonasro, lead the cast. 

Daniele Callegari and Andrew Sinclair

Italian conductor Daniele Callegari makes his San Diego Opera debut with Andrew Sinclair directing.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

31 Days of Opera Awesomeness Murder in the Cathedral



Ildebrando Pizzetti’s ‘Assassinio nella cattedrale’ is based on an actual historic event, the murder of Archbishop Thomas Becket on December 29, 1170.

Thomas Becket
Thomas Becket was born in London in 1118. His humble parents made sure he learned to read and sent him to Paris for his studies. After various jobs as a clerk and deacon, he became the young king’s Chancellor at the age of thirty-six, the second most powerful person in the country. The relationship between King Henry II and the twenty year older Thomas Becket at that time is documented as a strong friendship with both men enjoying splendor. This did however change in 1162 when Henry II made Becket the Archbishop of Canterbury. Feeling like he could not serve two masters, Thomas Becket resigned as Chancellor, choosing God over the king. Along with this switch came a grave change in lifestyle, Becket became a prime example of a disciplined and praying priest.
Conflicts and many misunderstanding between king and archbishop followed, causing him to go into exile in France in 1164. Seven years and many efforts by the pope and the French king Louis VII later reconciliation seemed to have been reached. Becket returned to Canterbury to be murdered 27 days later by four knights on December 29, 1170. On February 21, 1173, — little more than two years after his death — Archbishop Thomas Becket was canonised by Pope Alexander III and has ever since been known as Saint Thomas of Canterbury. Many wonders were found and for the rest of the Middle Ages his shrine was one of the wealthiest and most famous in Europe.

The Murder
Learn more about his murder by watching this excellent BBC documentary:


San Diego Opera's Murder in the Cathedral has its West Coast premiere in America on March 30, 2013. It is directed by Ian Campbell and starring Ferruccio Furlanetto as Becket.  



Tuesday, December 18, 2012

31 Days of Opera Awesomeness - Murder in the Cathedral

Conducted by La Scala’s Donato Renzetti, directed by Ian Campbell and starring Ferruccio Furlanetto as Becket, Ildebrando Pizzetti's Murder in the Cathedral has its West Coast Premiere in America, combining faith, passion, tragedy and hope.

The plot
Archbishop Thomas Becket, brutally murdered in Canterbury Cathedral in December 1170 defending his church against the intrusions of King Henry II, became a Christian martyr and Saint at whose tomb Henry was forced to pay penance. Based on the T. S. Eliot play, the opera covers the last 27 days of Becket’s life as he struggles with politics, religion and temptation.


The production
San Diego Opera's new production will be traditional. Here are two sketches of the scenery:



It is directed by San Diego Opera's very own Ian Campbell. The sets are designed by San Diego favorite Ralph Funicello.

 Ian Campbell and Ralph Funicello

Costumes are created by Bulgarian costume designer Denitsa Bliznakova who makes her San Diego Opera debut in this production.

costume sketches

The cast
 Ferruccio Furlanetto

The lyrical and melodic score is a tour-de-force for the great bass Ferruccio Furlanetto who is “…strong in rejecting the temptations and in rebutting the assassins’ charges of treasonous behavior toward the king, yet his singing in the sermon has a touching eloquence…” (The New York Times review of his La Scala performance as Becket).

 Donato Renzetti, Susan Neves, Helene Schneiderman and Allan Glassman

The opera is conducted by Donato Renzetti in his debut here. Susan Neves and Helene Schneiderman lead the women of Canterbury commenting on the action while unable to interfere with events which seem ordained to happen. American Tenor Allan Glassman is the Herald.

Listen to Nicolas Reveles, our Geisel Director of Education, talking about our upcoming production of Murder in the Cathedral:

Thursday, December 13, 2012

31 Days of Opera Awesomeness - Samson and Delilah

The Composer
Camille Saint-Saëns was born in Paris on October 9, 1835. A generally talented person, he started taking piano lessons aged two and wrote his first work at three. At twelve, he started studying organ and composition at the Paris Conservatory. Finally aged twenty, he had won the support of Berlioz, Liszt, Gounod, Rossini, and other notable figures. Other interests of him were geology, languages and astronomy as well as traveling which he did extensively in the last period of his life. During his life time he was celebrated in England and the United States as France’s greatest living composer leading to a triumphant concert tour in the U.S. in 1915. He died on December 16, 1921, in Algeria.
An anomaly among French composers of the nineteenth century, he wrote in all genres, including opera, symphonies, concertos, songs, sacred and secular choral music, solo piano, and chamber music. Mainly known for works such as The Carnival of the Animals, Danse Macabre or his Piano Concert no. 2, the French composer wrote 10 Operas in total, of which Samson and Delilah is the most famous.
Samson and Delilah
The story of Samson and Delilah can be found in the book of Judges, chapters 13 to 16. When Camille Saint-Saëns started to work on it in 1867, he intended to create an oratorio. His librettist Ferdinand Lemaire, however, saw the dramatic value of this tragic story and convinced the composer to turn it into an opera. It took Saint-Saëns a long time and the support of Franz Liszt to eventually finish it in 1876. The world premier took place at the Weimar Opera in 1877. In 1882 a second German production in Hamburg followed. Eight years later the work finally reached his home country at Rouen and was first performed in French. After a performance at the Paris Opéra in 1892 the opera managed to get international attention and nowadays belongs to the most often presented work of Saint-Saëns.
Opera vs. Oratorio
Ever since Samson and Delilah’s first performances Opera lovers have been debating about the works musical genre. Camille Saint-Saëns called it an Opera but isn’t it more an oratorio, a sacred concert piece for soloists, chorus and orchestra? Its topic is biblical, the male characters are only two-dimensional and especially the first chorus sounds very much like Mendelsohns Elijah. But it is Delilah that makes this work an Opera. She is three-dimensional, a character of depth whose motivations are more psychological than an oratorio-bound biblical character would allow. Her music is ’french’ - fluid, lush, romantic and brilliantly orchestrated with a touch of fantasy and worldly sensuality. She also is and this is rather rare for the main female character a mezzo-soprano.
But see for yourself, here is the most famous aria from Samson and Delilah ’Mon coeur s’ouvre à ta voix’ sung by the great Olga Borodina:

Our Samson and Delilah
Nadia Krasteva who has previously been seen at the Vienna State Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper and Deutsche Oper Berlin, will make her role debut as Delilah. She will soon be seen as Amneris at the Theatro alla Scala and is certainly someone to look out for. If you ask her Samson and Delilah is ’one of the most famous and beautiful operas ever written’ and we can not wait to hear the ’rich, smoky colors and earthy sensuality (in) her voice’ (The Chicago Tribune).
Clifton Forbis returns as Samson, whose “…brilliant voice and acting (as Samson) conveyed the inner torment" (SignOnSanDiego).

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Samson and Delilah


31 Days of Opera Awesomeness

Our second opera of the season is Camille Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Delilah. The impressive production full of action, ballet dancing, drama and great singing returns to our stage on February 16, 2013.

The plot


The Bible’s Samson and Delilah tells the tragic story of the Hebrew Samson who is send by god to save Israel from the Phillistines. Physically strong, Samson cannot repel the advances of the seductive Delilah. Urged on by the High Priest of Dagon, she makes him reveal the source of his strength, his hair, which she cuts, rendering him powerless. Captured and blinded, Samson calls on God for forgiveness, destroying the temple and all within it, including the treacherous Delilah.

 Act One

The production

Camille Saint-Saëns’s Samson and Delilah return to our stage in a production described by the North County Times as “…one of the most memorable San Diego Opera productions of the past decade (with) stunning and gargantuan sets, vivid lighting, gorgeous costumes, an erotic ballet and a seeming cast of thousands…”

Temple scenery

Owned by the San Francisco Opera, it was build in 1980 and designed by Douglas Schmidt.  The 211 costumes were designed by Carrie Robbins who used different fabrics to delineate the different groups. The Philistines have bright colors, fabrics with metallic threads, and a slim silhouette while the Hebrews are more modest in cottons and wools with stripes.  


Ballet Dancing

It is a truly Grand Opera production that includes fascinating scenery, great effects such as 12 bursts of flame and ballet dancing.


The cast

Clifton Forbis and Nadia Krasteva

 Anooshah Golesorkhi and Karen Keltner



Clifton Forbis returns as Samson, whose “…brilliant voice and acting (as Samson) conveyed the inner torment" (SignOnSanDiego). Mezzo-soprano Nadia Krasteva, described by the Chicago Tribune as having “…rich, smoky colors and earthy sensuality (in) her voice” makes her role debut as Delilah with Anooshah Golesorkhi as the scheming High Priest. San Diego’s own Karen Keltner conducts the sinuous and melodic score and Lesley Koenig directs this thrilling production.

You can take a closer visual look at our production here.

For more information visit our homepage.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Tenors of the 2013 Season

Tenors are considered by many audience members as the 'glories' of opera. What they do seems beautiful, athletic, stunning and unreasonable, all at once. Well, we have some wonderful tenor roles this upcoming season: Tonio in The Daughter of the Regiment, Samson in Samson and Delilah, and Radames in Aida. Tune in as Nicolas Reveles, the Geisel Director of Education and Outreach opens up the world of the operatic tenor in this week's installment.



Friday, December 7, 2012

Here is a little challenge

31 Days of Opera Awesomeness

Today's 31 Days of Opera Awesomeness gives you this amazing Daughter of the Regiment jigsaw puzzle. Have fun!



Thursday, December 6, 2012

The Music from The Daughter of the Regiment

31 Days of Opera Awesomeness

The Daughter of the Regiment is a comic opera which is defined as a sung dramatic work of a light or comic nature that usually ends well. Composed by Donizetti in 1840 for the Paris Opera Comique, it tells the story of the young orphan Marie who has been adopted by a regiment and later is found to be the Marquise’s niece. The libretto by Jules-Henri Vernoy de Saint-Georges and Jean Francois Bayard gave Donizetti the chance to write military rhythms, pastoral chorals, majestic orchestra pieces, passionate arias and love duets. It is an opera that demands exceptional skills from the singers. The tenor aria "Ah me amis" for example requires the singer to sing nine high C's.

Listen to what Nicolas Reveles, our Geisel director of education, has to say about the orchestra, the duets and much more!


The orchestra in The Daughter of the Regiment
 
The choir in The Daughter of the Regiment

 
The soprano in The Daughter of the Regiment


The arias in The Daughter of the Regiment



The duets in The Daughter of the Regiment


And last but not least, here are our favorite arias from The Daughter of the Regiment:

Nathalie Dessay as Marie sings 'C'en est donc fait"


The great Pavarotti as Tonio singing "Ah me amis"



Tuesday, December 4, 2012

31 Days of Opera Awesomeness

Gaetano Donizetti’s Daughter of the Regiment 


The first opera of our upcoming season is the Donizetti’s comic opera The Daughter of the Regiment. Written by the Italian composer in Paris, it was first performed at the Paris Opéra-Comique in 1840 in french.  

The Plot
The Daughter of the Regiment tells the story of the young orphan Marie who has been adopted by a regiment of the American army. Young and wild, a true army girl, she travels with the regiment and sees them all as her father. After meeting Tonio, a French peasant, they fall in love with each other. This leads Tonio to enlist in the regiment and everything seems perfect until Sgt. Sulpice meets the Marquise of Birkenfeld who turns out to be Marie’s aunt. Exhilarated about the finding of her long-lost niece, the Marquise decides to take Marie home to the family’s chateau. Comedy ensues as Marie attempts to adapt to her new life, as she discovers that the identity of the Marquise is not what she was led to believe.



Scenes from the production, Photos by Karen Cooper/Washington National Opera 

The Production
This delightful production comes from Italy’s Teatro Comunale di Bologna and sets the Opera in to the waning days of World War II. Costumes and sets were designed by Julio Galan who died in 2006. Since its premiere in 2004 the production has been shown in Geneva, Tokyo, Washington, Houston, Bilbao and Tel Aviv.

Have a look at this video to learn more about the production!



The Cast 
L’ubica Vargicová, described by the New York Times as having “…devilish coloratura with fearless attack” sings Marie with Stephen Costello whose “…polished tenor boasts… command, brightness at the top” (SanDiego.com) singing the nine high Cs. Ewa Podles “…a force of nature…”, (U-T San Diego) is the Marquise of Birkenfeld with Kevin Burdette as Sulpice.


L’ubica Vargicová, Stephen Costello, Ewa Podles and Kevin Burdette.

Toronto-born conductor, Yves Abel and stage director, Emilio Sagi, make their San Diego Opera debuts. 

Here is an extended preview on our Daughter of the Regiment by Nicolas Reveles, our Geisel Director of Education!



You can find even more information and interesting facts at www.sdopera.com !

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What year did we perform The Daughter of the Regiment last?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Mezzo-Sopranos of the 2013 Season

There are two major mezzo-soprano roles in this upcoming opera season: Delilah in Saint-Saens' Samson and Delilah and the Princess Amneris in Verdi's Aida. Both roles are major dramatic commitments for the mezzo that demand lyricism and declamatory singing. Let Nicolas Reveles, our Director of Education and Outreach, give you a quick review of these two roles!


Monday, November 19, 2012

10 Questions with Nadia Krasteva

We here at Aria Serious (and San Diego Opera) are delighted to be welcoming Nadia Krasteva to our Company as Delilah in our second opera of the season, Samson and Delilah. Nadia took some time out of her busy schedule to answer the same 10 or so questions we always ask.

San Diego Opera (SDO): First, welcome to San Diego Opera – we’re very pleased to have you making your Company debut with us as Delilah. So our readers can learn a bit more about you, where you now and what are you currently singing?

Nadia Krasteva (NK): Now I am at home in Vienna for a short break. I’ve just come back from Dallas, where I made my Company debut in the opera house as Amneris in ”Aida”, definitely one of my favorite parts, which I have been really singing with a great pleasure.

SDO: Can you tell me a little about your Delilah?

NK: This will be my debut in the role, so I am so excited about working on it! In my imagination, Delilah is a beautiful young woman, which is selfish and thirsty for attention. She uses her erotic emanation and is obsessed by the idea of having control on men.

SDO: Samson and Delilah is a great first-time opera and we’ll have many first time opera goers in the theatre when you sing. What should someone who have never been to the opera before know about Samson and Delilah before sitting down in the theatre?

NK: Anyone, who is going for the first time to the opera, should know, that “Samson and Delilah” is one of the most famous and beautiful operas ever written. At the same time this is the only opera by Camille Saint-Saens which is frequently performed nowadays. The opera is sung in French language, the libretto is based on the biblical tale of Samson and Delilah and the place is the ancient Palestine, which is very suitable for some oriental motives inserted by the composer into the music of the opera.

SDO: Any exciting roles for you coming up?

NK: I am excited about singing soon Eboli in the French version of”Don Carlo” in Vienna and Amneris in “Theatro alla Scala” di Milano.

SDO: Are there any dream roles that you would love to sing? (We promise to have Ian read this.)

NK: I have already sung some of my dream roles, like Carmen, Amneris, Eboli, Leonore from ”La Favorite”, Venus in ”Tannhäuser”. Of course, there are also other wonderful roles that I would very much like to perform on the stage like the Joanna from” The Maid of Orleans”, or why not the Kundry from ”Parsifal”. I am a person who likes finding the beauty in the different styles of music and I enjoy very much the process of finding myself in the different roles and situations.

SDO:  Fill in the blank section: “If I was not an opera singer I would be…..

NK: a poet or a painter, or maybe a philosopher.

SDO: Two parter: What’s your favorite part of being an international opera singer? What’s your least favorite part?

NK: The great advantage being a singer is to perform on the stage, to open your heart and your soul in your singing, in your acting, and sharing your emotions with the public. Another wonderful thing about this profession is to visit different countries, to know other cultures and meet interesting people…But there is a disadvantage being long time in a foreign country, you start missing your family, missing the feeling of being at home.

SDO: Some people say there is more to life than opera. We think they’re crazy. But we’ll humor them: do you have any hobbies?

NK: My hobbies are very simple. When I have time from working or studying, I find relaxation in sharing precious moments together with my family or with friends, or walking outside in the nature, seeing a good film, listening to different styles of music, sometimes sitting and trying to express my feelings in a poetry…

SDO: Do you have a book next to your bed? What is it?

NK: As I like very much to think about the philosophy of life, about the magic of being here, I find interesting for example the books of Deepak Chopra. I dream about waking up one day and find the world the way it should be-with people, respecting the miracle of life-the life of the other human beings, as well as the life of the animals.

SDO: Name three bands or musicians on your iPod that aren’t opera related

NK: My taste about music is so various, that it’s difficult for me to choose only three musicians. In my teenage years I was the biggest fan of heavy metal and rock music.Today I would name between my favorites Whitney Heuston, Mariah Carey, Cher, The Beatles, Elvis Presley, KISS, Bon Jovi, Guns ’n’ Roses, Blue, Michael Bolton, Nightwish, Karizma. And talking about classical music, the work I am never tired to listen to, is the Second Symphony of Rachmaninov.

SDO: This will be your first time in San Diego, what are you looking forward to the most?

NK: Ian Campbell told me, that this is the best city of the world and promised that I will love it… So, I can’t wait to see more!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Sopranos of the 2013 Season

Starting today, a new series of podcasts about the various voice-types that you'll hear in the 2013 Season. Let's start with the sopranos; we have three stunning roles for soprano this season in Marie from The Daughter of the Regiment, the corifea or 'chorister' from Murder in the Cathedral and Aida in the Verdi opera of the same name. Let Nicolas Reveles, Director of Education and Outreach, introduce you to the lovely music written for soprano by composers Donizetti, Pizzetti and Verdi in this exciting podcast!

Monday, October 29, 2012

What is Mariachi?

As we look forward to the presentation of Cruzar la cara de la luna, the first mariachi opera, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at mariachi style and its history. This is an easy, brief introduction to the style that you may think you know (but probably really don't!) Watch and listen to Nicolas Reveles, the Geisel Director of Education and Outreach, as he unfolds the style and history of mariachi for you.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Hello, Old Friend. OperaTalk! Returns

OperaTalk!, our fascinating look at the history, music and composer of our mainstage operas is back for the 2013 season. Up first, is a rousing look at Donizetti's comedy The Daughter of the Regiment. Enjoy! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Orchestra of the 2013 Season

The orchestra is a major element in the presentation of an opera, and is foremost in the establishment of setting, time, emotion, psychological state...creating the 'sonic environment' for the telling of a powerful story. Watch and listen as Nicolas Reveles, Director of Education and Outreach for San Diego Opera, shares some important orchestral moments from the upcoming 2013 Season!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Chorus of the 2013 Season

Every opera has a chorus. Well, not quite every opera: Cruzar la cara de la luna doesn't have an 'official' chorus, although the band (in this case the Mariachi Vargas) joins in enthusiastically with some of the singers in the opera! But Daughter of the Regiment, Murder in the Cathedral, Samson and Delilah and Aida definitely DO have choruses, and great ones at that! Join Dr. Nicolas Reveles as he shares some of that wonderful music with you!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Duets of the 2013 Season

Last week, Dr. Nic talked about arias in our 2013 season, so it seems a logical step for him to discuss duets this week. And there are some beautiful duets in the 2013 season. Don't believe us, take a listen for yourself. And enjoy!




Monday, September 24, 2012

Ten Questions with Ferruccio Furlanetto

Italian bass Ferruccio "Ace of Bass" Furlanetto is no stranger to San Diego Opera. He made his Company debut in 1985 as Oberto has sung often with the Company since then including  the title roles of Don Giovanni, Boris Godunov, Don Quixote as well as King Philip in Don Carlo. In March, Ferruicco brings a new role to us, that of archbishop Thomas Becket in Ildebrando Pizzett's Murder in the Cathedral.

Ferruccio took a break between rounds at St. Andrews gold course over the weekend to answer "10 Questions with..."

Murder in the Cathedral opens March 30, 2013 for four performances.

Aria Serious (AS): First, welcome back to San Diego Opera – we’re very pleased to have you return to us to sing Beckett in Murder in the Cathedral. What have you been up to these past few seasons?


Ferruccio Furlanetto (FF): It is always a great joy for me to be back in San Diego in what I consider my American family.

In these few past seasons I kept basically doing my favorite roles in the theaters where I like to perform the most as London, Vienna, Met, Mariinsky in San Petersburg and Bolshoi.

AS: Pizzetti’s opera is new to our audiences can you tell us a bit about the opera?

FF: Pizzetti's Assassinio nella Cattedrale is a piece that is not very well known simply because it is difficult to cast. The role of Thomas Becket is a gigantic role not only for its demanding vocals but also for deep acting interpretation required that is equal to Boris Godunov or King Philip.

It was composed in 1953 and presented for the first time at the Auditorium RAI of Torino conducted by Pizzetti himself with Nicola Rossi Lemeni in the title role. A few years later, Herbert Von Karajan did it in the State Opera of Vienna with Hans Hotter. As it happens very often, even to beautiful pieces, it was forgotten for quite a while.

I started to perform this opera in 2002 in Trieste , performed a few other concert versions in Italy and, finally after 54 years of absence, I did it in La Scala of Milan in 2008 in a splendid production of Yannis Kokkos and conducted by Donato Renzetti whom we have the great privilege to have in San Diego. Maestro Renzetti is not only a very refined and charismatic conductor but also a stunning interpreter of this masterpiece and, last but not least, a splendid person.

AS: Can you tell us a bit about the role of Becket, which I am told is one of your favorite roles?

FF: The role of Becket, as I said previously, is vocally very demanding with virtuoso excursions up and down the bass' register. The Pizzetti style was based on the "declamato" of the libretto which is very profound and extremely faithful to T.S. Eliot work. Finally one must apply all these important things a very felt and deep acting.

AS: Any exciting roles for you coming up?

FF: I think that the most important thing at this stage of my career is to keep doing my favorite roles in productions that fulfill my expectation. The only new role that I will sing in the next future is Kovansky in Khovanshchina and it will be at the Vienna State Opera in the fall 2014.

AS: With such an incredible career already, you’ve probably sung every role in the bass repertoire but are there any dream roles that you would love to sing? Any roles in the bass repertoire that you’ve grown out of but miss?

FF: Well, the one I just mentioned represents my only desire at this moment, while the role that I would have loved to do in the past but never happened is probably Papageno but at least in my Mozart recording I sang the two lovely arias.

AS: Fill in the blank section: “If I was not an opera singer I would be __________”

FF: This is quite hard to say after 38 years in this field. When I decided to go into the opera world I was studying something completely different at the University: Forestry. So...

AS: Two parter: What’s your favorite part of being an international opera singer? What’s your least favorite part?

FF: This profession is a privilege that allows somebody to have a very rewarding life and amazing satisfactions, it would be quite difficult to say what comes first in this long list of benefits. For the second part it is very easy to answer: Luggage!

AS: Some people say there is more to life than opera. We think they’re crazy too. But we’ll humor them: do you have any hobbies?

FF: I am sure that by now everybody in San Diego knows how much I love golf,(I just had the great honor to become a member of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews). Then I also have a great passion of classic cars, I have few and they are my most beloved toys.

AS: Do you have a book next to your bed? What is it?

FF: In this moment I have few operas and concerts to be refreshed and this is taking away all my reading time unfortunately. When I finish studying I really wish to rest my poor eyes.

AS: Since you are coming back to San Diego, anything about our city (besides the golf) you are looking forward to revisiting?

FF: When I come back to a place that I really love, I want to visit again everything and everybody, so this will happen in spring when I will be finally with all of you again.

But I am sure that in these few years the city kept changing and I will find something new to treasure.


Monday, September 17, 2012

Video Podcast - The Aria of the 2013 Season

Our summer break is over, and Dr. Nic is back with his weekly podcast series Nicolas Reveles which will cover various elements of the operatic artform in order to help us get to know the 2013 International Season. We'll start with the aria, that one thing in opera that so many of us wait for, especially in operas that we know well. What about in operas that we don't quite know as well, like Murder in the Cathedral or Cruzar la cara de la luna? Tune in and find out!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Video Podcast, The Daughter of the Regiment

In this week's podcast Dr. Nic looks at the first opera of our 2013 season, The Daughter of the Regiment by Donizetti. Donizetti was a formidable composer in his time and was the toast of Paris in 1840 when he had four operas running simultaneously at the city's largest theatres. Sounds a bit like Andrew Lloyd Webber, eh? Join Dr. Nic, Director of Education and Outreach, for an overview of this charming opera which logged 1,000 performances between its premiere and 1900 at the Opera Comique.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Video Podcast, Aida

Dr. Nic returns in our video podcast series. This week, he takes a look at Verdi's grand opera Aida which is part of our 2013 season.

You can watch the podcast below. Enjoy!


Monday, May 14, 2012

An Introduction to Murder in the Cathedral

Ildebrando Pizzetti is not a composer known to most U.S. operagoers, but his opera Murder in the Cathedral which premiered at La Scala in 1958, made quite a splash when it first appeared. Based on the historical assassination of Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in 1170 and more specifically the T.S. Eliot verse-play about this event, the opera turned out to be a tour de force for bass, along the lines of Boris Godunov and King Philip. Nicolas Reveles, Director of Education and Outreach, explores this unusual and exciting entry in our 2013 season.


Monday, May 7, 2012

An Introduction to The Daughter of the Regiment

One of the most delightful comedies to come out of the bel canto period, Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment charms us at every turn. It was one of a number of operas the composer had in production during the 1840 Paris opera season, a feat about which Berlioz declared: “One speaks no more of the operatic stages of Paris: one must speak of the operatic stages of Donizetti!” Join Nicolas Reveles, Director of Education and Outreach for San Diego Opera for a brief discussion of this wonderful opera.


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

2013 Season Podcast

A journey through our just announced 2013 season in this video podcast by our very own Dr. Nic Reveles.


THE BARBER OF SEVILLE OperaSpotlight

A behind-the-scenes look at our current production. Enjoy!

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Barber of Seville by Eric Shanower

Artist Eric Shanower continues his tradition of live sketching our operas with incredible results and last night's The Barber of Seville rehearsals was no exception.

It's a busy time for Eric so we're incredibly grateful that he took time out of his schedule to join us.

Eric has just released Treasury Edition size version of The Forgotten Forest of Oz and he's getting ready to appear at the Winkie Con in Pacific Grove, California, in July, the longest running Oz convention in the world.

So without further ado, The Barber of Seville by Eric Shanower.